Women Report That Available Contraceptive Services Don’t Meet Their Needs

The Guttmacher Institute’s most recent report on sexual and reproductive health notes that the majority of women who are at risk for unintended pregnancy say they are dissatisfied with the contraceptive services readily available to them. Over 500 women seeking abortions were surveyed on which contraceptive features are the most important to them, and the features that topped the list were the birth control method’s effectiveness (84 percent), lack of side effects (78 percent) and affordability (76 percent). However, for 91 percent of respondents, no contraceptive method available to them had all of the features they considered important. The researchers noted that improving access and affordability could begin to remedy this gap, and help encourage women at risk of unintended pregnancy to more regularly and effectively use contraception. For example, women reported that being able to access an over-the-counter birth control pill would help meet 71 percent of their needs, while currently available prescription pills that are more difficult to obtain only satisfy 60 percent.